Bike lanes surge ahead

Cyclists riding in a bike lane

Gideon Forman, Climate Change and Transportation Policy Analyst, says “The best way to protect ourselves from pollution is to avoid creating it. Which brings us back to the simple, child-friendly vehicle that burns no fuel — the bicycle.”

One-quarter of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions come from the ways we get around. More than 80 per cent of people now live in urban areas. So cleaner, healthier transportation options have never been better investments.

Fewer cars on roads helps tackle the climate crisis, improve air quality and save lives — human and other species’. Win. Win. Win.

During COVID-19 lockdown, people stayed indoors or close to home.

Cities and towns throughout Canada converted roads for active transportation — walking, cycling and rolling. Montreal added 200 kilometres of temporary routes and reconfigured streets for cyclists and pedestrians. Vancouver repurposed 50 kilometres of road space.

Everywhere bicycle sales boomed.

Making Toronto bike lane history

In May, Toronto city council voted to create 25 kilometres of new bike lanes, in addition to 15 kilometres already approved. It was a near-unanimous decision. The Toronto Star called it the “largest single-year buildout of on-street cycling infrastructure in Toronto’s history.”

Thanks to our community, we:

  • Commissioned polling that found 84 per cent of Toronto residents support protected bike lanes.
  • Fuelled meetings with city councillors to show how bike lanes bust congestion and clean the air.
  • Powered work with doctors’ and nurses’ groups to make the case that bike lanes save lives.

More than 5,000 people used our online platform to send supportive emails to Toronto mayor and councillors.

The results? An extension of the popular Bloor bike lane all the way to High Park and beyond. A new lane on Danforth, Toronto’s main east end thoroughfare. A University Avenue bikeway, linking lanes on Adelaide and Richmond to Bloor. And several dedicated cycling paths on other important streets, including in suburbs.

But the excitement wasn’t limited to the number of lanes. It was the speed. Toronto completed some lanes scheduled to open in late 2021 this summer!

Toronto’s long-term goal is to build a citywide bike lane network. That way folks can safely cycle right across Canada’s largest urban metropolis.

Cycling forward

In pandemic recovery phases, city planners are keeping bike lanes open and creating more.

This is a great start. But we need more protected bike lanes. Many streets, particularly in suburbs, aren’t safe for cyclists.

Now we’re focusing on bike lanes for Yonge Street, Toronto’s main north-south artery, and active transportation in Brampton. And we’ll continue pushing for bike lanes throughout Canada.

Let’s continue reimagining our streets to create healthier cities. Greener transportation solutions are this country’s responsibility to its citizenry, and to the world.

Finding Solutions features stories of caring people like you who make everything here possible. You can read, share, discuss, take action, join, donate. Whatever you choose, you’re helping protect Earth’s life-support systems. Thank you.


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